New downtown gallery reflects valley’s beauty
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Artist Zanobia Shalks hopes to use watercolor, oil and Gouache paint to introduce her customers to some of the Yampa Valley’s most scenic vistas and landscapes.
“People who live here or visit enjoy that scenery, and they like seeing it in my paintings,” said Shalks, who has lived in the area for more than 30 years. “They can recognize, if not a specific place, but the area.”
The new Zanobi Shalks Fine Art Gallery and Studio opened the first week of March in a recently renovated, 566-square-foot retail space located in the Main Street Apartments at 424 S. Lincoln Ave.
Hanging on the studio walls are paintings of Buffalo and Lynx passes, the Yampa and Elk rivers and Steamboat Lake. Shalks’ collections have works that represent the areas north, south and west of Steamboat Springs, and it’s easy for those who know the valley to recognize specific landmarks or at least the area they represent.
“I want people to see the beauty around us,” Shalks said. “I want my paintings to make them feel good, make them feel happy and bring back good memories.”
Shalks has shown her work in a number of galleries in Steamboat over the years and has had her work hung in a number of local salons. These days Shalks loves to watch the traffic, both foot and car, cruise past the big windows at the front of her new space.
“I love this space, because it stands out,” Shalks said. “It’s like a light, a beacon. It’s a star, because it’s not smashed in with a bunch of retail spaces.”
The new space features new, modern flooring and two large front windows where people passing by can take a peek in and watch the artist at work. The walls are filled with more than 40 paintings on canvas, panels and paper ranging in size from 5 by 7 inches all the way up to 30 by 40 inches.
Some of the paintings are oil, some are watercolor, and Shalks just recently started working with Gouache. The paint can be re-wetted and dries to a matte finish. The look is similar to acrylic or oil and is normally used in an opaque painting style and can form a superficial layer.
Shalks was working in plein air before the term became popular and enjoys traveling or hiking to various locations where she creates art as it is laid out in front of her in nature. She said she enjoys capturing the moment, the location and the light as it expands in front of her eyes.
In many cases, Shalks returns to her studio where she transforms the smaller works she created in the field into larger-scale paintings that pass along the scale of nature but still reflect the original beauty of the scene.
“Who would not be inspired by the scenery around here,” Shalks said. “It was so much fun painting all of these.”
John F. Russell is the business reporter at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach him, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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